Pant-Wettingly Scary Public Information Films

FrKadash

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The Balloon (1981)

I don't remember this one being shared. BFI have tagged it ''A creepy clown brings balloons and death in this dreamlike road safety film, along with some not-so-subtle product placement.''

And

If the love child of Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini were commissioned by Slush Puppy to make a road safety film, then this would be it. The mix of high and low camera angles, the music, and the creepy clown with his mysterious balloons all add up to a strangely dreamlike experience. The fact that two kids are apparently struck by cars, but everyone is more worried about burst balloons only adds to the almost certainly unintended surrealism.
https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-balloon-1981-online
 

Lord Lucan

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This YouTube compilation is called:

TOP 50: SCARIEST PUBLIC INFORMATION FILMS – REDUX!

Contains nightmare fuel. Viewer discretion is advised. Public Information Films (PIFs) are almost "mini horror movies" (the British version of PSAs) which are used to inform the public about everyday safety or particular services for their own welfare... some have been more macabre than others, and these are only 50 of them. These can span from topics such as fire safety, drink driving, child abuse, AIDS prevention, rail safety, electricity safety and many more. Including a few additional entries, sit through 52-minutes of the creepiest, scariest, and downright bone-chilling public information films the UK has ever produced... most of which are in HD for the first time ever! Includes a few cult classics such as: "Apaches" "Charley Says" "Dark and Lonely Water" "Jo and Petunia" "Play Safe" and many more! (Well, 45 to be exact...)

 

Lb8535

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One of my uncle's claims to fame was that he worked during WW 2 in the Army's film unit, turning out among other works a notorious instruction film warning GI's about vd. He swore proudly that It was so explicit that there were always a few guys who threw up during their mandatory showing.
 

Lord Lucan

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One of my uncle's claims to fame was that he worked during WW 2 in the Army's film unit, turning out among other works a notorious instruction film warning GI's about vd. He swore proudly that It was so explicit that there were always a few guys who threw up during their mandatory showing.
In high school we were shown two public information films, one on the horrors of unsafe driving which showed the results of fatal car accidents in full colour. There were victims in situ, victims in the morgue as well as an autopsy. One classmate fainted and another two ran from the room crying and trying to hold back their vomit.
I also went to a Catholic private high school where we were shown an anti abortion film called 'The Silent Scream'. It's available on YouTube and no matter your opinion on the topic, the film will stay with you. You've been warned.
 
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EnolaGaia

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In high school we were shown two public information films, one on the horrors of unsafe driving which showed the results of fatal car accidents in full colour. There were victims in situ, victims in the morgue as well as an autopsy. One classmate fainted and another two ran from the room crying and trying to hold back their vomit. ...
Surviving the gory highway safety instruction-by-terror films was a rite of passage in American high schools of the Sixties.

The two films I had to endure were the classics Signal 30 and Mechanized Death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_30

https://www.automobilemag.com/news/school-of-wreck/
 

JamesWhitehead

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I also went to a Catholic private high school where we shown an anti abortion film called 'The Silent Scream'. It's available on YouTube and no matter your opinion on the topic, the film will stay with you. You've been warned.
We also had a film - maybe that one - along the same lines, in the context of a presentation by a SPUC spokeswoman. It was extremely graphic, especially in those days, when gory surgical operations were not featured daily on television. Televison itself was mainly b & w.

I do remember that one lad, at least, left the lecture theatre in some distress. He was a big lad and a bit of a bully; rumour had it that he was the only one in the room at all likely to have caused an unwanted pregnancy. The teachers were Christian Brothers, so I think they were in the clear for that! We were, I think, fourth-year pupils, so 14 to 15; though far-from-innocent, we were not exposed to much in the way of gynaecology, professional or amateur, in those days.

Accustomed as I was to discussion, I tried to raise some sort of objection to the emotive and unbalanced viewpoint we had been given but this was no debate! :yellowc:
 
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Lord Lucan

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We also had a film - maybe that one - along the same lines, in the context of a presentation by a SPUC spokeswoman. It was extremely graphic, especially in those days, when gory surgical operations were not featured daily on television. Televison itself was mainly b & w.

I do remember that one lad, at least, left the lecture theatre in some distress. He was a big lad and a bit of a bully; rumour had it that he was the only one in the room at all likely to have caused an unwanted pregnancy. The teachers were Christian Brothers, so I think they were in the clear for that!

Accustomed as I was to debates, I tried to raise some sort of objection to the emotive and unbalanced viewpoint we had been given but this was no debate! :yellowc:
All very odd wasn't it? It was considered compulsory viewing for us, although you could be excused if you had a note from your parents. I don't recall anyone that did, however I do remember much weeping from some of the girls, probably some of the boys too as it was quite traumatizing, especially with the Sister reminding my female classmates that they ensured instant excommunication if they were to travel down that road.
Ironically, our science teacher, an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, liked by everyone guy (who tragically died young), taught us (against the curriculum) the benefits of and options available to us of birth control and was subsequently suspended from his post for 3 months.
 

Mythopoeika

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I don't remember being shown any public information films as a kid.
 

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Early 80s at school we were shown a horribly outdated (must've been at least 5 years old) film about the horrors of std's, which had a young woman with 70s flicked hair, at the the doctors being told she had caught a disease. "Oh no, not gonorrhea".
Well as this was the start of the aids era, and we were being told that if you looked at another's persons genitals, you would probably die, rather than be warned off stds the whole thing felt so absurd the whole assembly burst out laughing.
 

GNC

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We got the Never Go With Strangers film in school, accompanied by friendly policeman handing out bookmarks. Didn't make the film any less disturbing (I've never gone with a stranger to this day). And the one about not playing on the railway lines, not The Finishing Line, alas (I think that had been withdrawn by then), but the replacement about a kid who lost his feet on the tracks, or something. Saw Apaches on TV one Sunday afternoon - instant nightmare fuel.
 

Victory

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Saw this as a child when it was made and originally broadcast in the 1970s.
Genuinely though the children had been killed, wondered how such a thing was allowed to happen for the sake of a film.
Was really unnerved and had mild PTSD from watching it.

The infamous "The Finishing Line"



Then there was this, the mini horror "The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water", featuring the late Terry Sue-Patt who would go on to play Benny Green in Grange Hill.





Not scary, but worth seeing for the droll humour of the late Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock of "Are You Being Served?")


 
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Naughty_Felid

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I think you could show that PIF to someone you suspected of being a space alien, and if they didn't flinch at the final second or two you'd know for sure they were not of this Earth.
If they got the makers of these 60's/70's films in to do Lockdown videos nobody would ever leave their house again.
 

GNC

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If they got the makers of these 60's/70's films in to do Lockdown videos nobody would ever leave their house again.
Some time just after the AIDS warnings, there was a change in direction and sheer stark terror stopped being the language of PIFs, for better or worse. Now, of course, the COI no longer exists to make them.
 

sherbetbizarre

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Thanks to the BFI, some of your favourite nightmares are coming to blu-ray...

Disc 1
Children of the City (1944, 31 mins)
Brief City (1952, 20 mins)
Design for Today (1965, 16 mins)
Voyage North (1965, 22 mins)
Lonely Water (1973, 2 mins)
Drive Carefully, Darling (1975, 17 mins)
Apaches (1977, 27 mins)
Building Sites Bite (1978, 29 mins)
Insight: Zandra Rhodes (1981, 15 mins)

Disc 2
Your Children and You (1946, 29 mins)
Waverley Steps (1948, 31 mins)
Charley’s March of Time (1948, 9 mins)
What a Life! (1948, 12 mins)
Another Case of Poisoning (1949, 13 mins)
Riding on Air (1959, 16 mins)
Smoking and You (1963, 12 mins)
The Poet’s Eye (1964, 19 mins)
Opus (1967, 28 mins)
Never Go With Strangers (1971, 19 mins)



https://shop.bfi.org.uk/best-of-the-coi-blu-ray.html#.Xp4a-8hKjIU
 

GNC

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It's not scary, but Waverley Steps is a nice, dreamlike short about Edinburgh. It was intended to attract tourists to the city.
 

GNC

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Nice to see scary PIF tradition continued by... Michael Madsen?!
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Anyone know of a PIF/ad for something from either the 70s or early 80s showing something a bit like the PIF in 'The IT Crowd'? I ask because someone I know was a child/teenage actor in the late 70s-early 80s told me years ago they were in a PIF where they played a thug who (I think) knocked over a baby's pram/pushchair in a thrilling chase with a policeman. I forget what the thing was the PIF warned against... He was adamant that when he went up for the audition, Ross Kemp was there as well. Apparently they used to be up for a lot of the thuggy parts... I've never managed to find this and dunno where it was shown.

I'd love to find it!

It does sound a lot like this:

 

bugmum

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Saw this as a child when it was made and originally broadcast in the 1970s.
Genuinely though the children had been killed, wondered how such a thing was allowed to happen for the sake of a film.
Was really unnerved and had mild PTSD from watching it.

The infamous "The Finishing Line"
Since the video is blocked due to its content, can I just ask whether that is the one with the kids holding a Sports Day on the railway line, and the last event is where they run into the tunnel, to be brought out on stretchers covered in red blankets? Because if so, I've had bits of that film in my head since about 1980 - saw it at home, and it has stuck with me FOR EVER...
 

Ladyloafer

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Since the video is blocked due to its content, can I just ask whether that is the one with the kids holding a Sports Day on the railway line, and the last event is where they run into the tunnel, to be brought out on stretchers covered in red blankets? Because if so, I've had bits of that film in my head since about 1980 - saw it at home, and it has stuck with me FOR EVER...
Found it @bugmum
https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-finishing-line-1977-online
Jfc that's horrible! I've never seen it before and never want to again.

WARNING. IT'S HORRIBLE
 

bugmum

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